Best Global Green Brands 2014

e-commerce

Amazon Goes Custom with 3D Printing Shop

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 28, 2014 03:02 PM

Amazon is cementing its title as the king of e-commerce with its latest gambit: a customizable 3D printing store.

Capitalizing on the "maker movement," Amazon's latest online shop offers customizable jewelry, tech accessories, toys and even bobbleheads—all of which can be customized by size, color, material and design aspects—as well as products from partners like Mixee, Scupteo and 3DLT

“The introduction of our 3D Printed Products store suggests the beginnings of a shift in online retail—that manufacturing can be more nimble to provide an immersive customer experience,” said Amazon Marketplace Sales director Petra Schindler-Carter, according to TechCrunch

The success of 3D printers on Amazon Supply, a wholesale site for businesses, led to Amazon’s 3D print offering and once again puts the brand at the forefront of the e-commerce industry.Continue reading...

retail watch

Small Box: Target, Walmart Invest in Smaller Stores in Attempt to Goose Sales

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 24, 2014 01:46 PM

Two of America’s largest retailers are facing some big problems. Both Target and Walmart are seeing increasing competition from not only each other, but smaller, more nimble retailers and online giants like Amazon that are challenging the big-box retailers on every level.

Target, for one, is still working on recovering from its holiday-season data breach. Of course, the problem existed way before the data breach. Foot traffic in the stores has fallen for six straight quarters, which is likely part of the reason it is putting a lot of effort into making its digital presence stronger.

With a hard focus on younger consumers, Target has launched several initiatives including the debut of its first TargetExpress store on the campus of the University of Minnesota. According to MediaPost, the store is “just 15 percent of the size of its typical store” and is “heavy on beauty, electronics and convenience food.” 

“This is an exciting opportunity to test and learn as we continue exploring new ways to meet our guests’ needs and exceed their expectations,” said John Griffith, EVP of property development, in a press release. “Our focus is on ensuring the Target shopping experience is available when, where and how guests want it.”Continue reading...

retail watch

For Retail Brands, a Blend of In-Store and Online Can Get the Sale

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on July 24, 2014 11:41 AM

Retail is ripe for innovation, but are consumers really hungry for it? The latest Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study from A.T. Kearney seeks to answer that, but the findings may surprise the droves of brands making huge investments in digital commerce. 

The survey of 2,500 US shoppers found that physical retail stores play a crucial role in online purchasing habits, with 55 percent of shoppers preferring to use both physical stores and online retail throughout the shopping journey. 

The study makes for an even greater argument for omnichannel retail. "A strategy based on leveraging the appeal of the physical store supported by digital is the best formula for capturing the maximum number of sales, building sustainable customer loyalty, and creating opportunities to cross-sell," study co-author Michael Brown said

While online-only brands like Birchbox continue to experiment with physical retail spaces, traditional retail brands are also finding fun, innovative ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the brand experience of brick-and-mortar.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Target Snaps Up Mobile Shopping Innovation with Image Recognition App

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 23, 2014 01:49 PM

Whoever tries to hack into Target’s data next is going to have a lot more to dig through. The retailer's new app, In a Snap, aims at improving its foothold in the mobile shopping space by allowing users to take pictures of Target products in print (magazines, catalogs and newspapers) and then simply click to buy.

The free app, which uses advanced image recognition technology, allows consumers to have their product shipped or held for them at a local store—all part of Target's big push to ramp up e-commerce and click-and-collect efforts as it continues to feel the pressure from Amazon, Walmart, and fast-fashion retailers. In a Snap joins Target's other app, Cartwheel, which serves as a coupon-serving shopping companion. 

“It’s a single-purpose app that will appeal to Millennials and college students or anyone not averse to downloading an app,” Target spokesman Eddie Baeb told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The app's launch is timed to Target advertising running in Real Simple and Domino magazines, part of the brand's back to school campaign for college-aged consumers with a new registry and web video series, Best Year Ever, that features YouTube stars helping students with dorm room makeovers.Continue reading...

retail watch

From Faster Delivery to Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Just Keeps on Rolling

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 21, 2014 03:30 PM

Amazon may be in a PR standoff with the publishing industry that is leaving both sides licking their wounds, but the situation doesn’t appear to be hurting Amazon’s bottom line. The company’s second-quarter revenue will be announced Thursday and the expectation is that it will continue “to gain share from brick-and-mortar retailers,” according to at least one observer.

Amazon Prime is one of the main ways Amazon continues to grow since its more than 25 million members on average purchase four times more than non-members. Also helping is its Sunday delivery service, which has recently been expanded to serve 15 cities including New Orleans. When the service kicked off last November, only New York and Los Angeles residents could take part. “Sunday delivery is clearly crossing errands off the weekend to-do list,” commented Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations, to New Orleans magazine.

As the Seattle Times also notes, anywhere Amazon has two-day delivery, it also has constructed a sorting center that allows the company to get products into the mailstream quickly and as close to the destination as possible. Sunday delivery is expected to see marked expansion in the coming months.

Sunday delivery may prove a big boon for another embattled industry.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Visa Taps Morgan Freeman to Help Rebrand V.me as Visa Checkout

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 17, 2014 03:04 PM

Visa has now got its own Innovation Center. It was opened in San Francisco Wednesday to try to bring the company’s software developers, clients, and other tech folks “to jointly develop the next generation of commerce applications," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The first product coming out of the Innovation Center is the Visa Checkout mobile payment system, which hopes to give PayPal, Isis and Google Wallet a run for the money, and replaces Visa's V.me brand that was introduced in the US in 2012.

"It's a recognition of the fact that the credit card is becoming a digital card, and innovations are occurring through digital means," said Jim McCarthy, the brand's senior vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships, to the Chronicle. "Basically, we're opening up our network to software developers to use our capabilities and assets, and to help consumers to take advantage of them."Continue reading...

retail watch

Birchbox Scores with First Brick and Mortar Store

Posted by Brittany Waterson on July 17, 2014 01:52 PM

Color this beauty blogger impressed. I finally got a chance to visit Birchbox, the beauty subscription service and e-commerce site, at the brand's first brick-and-mortar retail store, which opened in New York last week. Located in Soho, the store includes a curated product assortment from 250 brands. Birchbox joins brands like Warby Parker and Bonobos in making the leap from exclusively online ventures to physical stores.

Birchbox launched in 2010 and has grown rapidly with a goal of redefining the retail process by offering customers a way to try and experience the best beauty products on the market. Birchbox offers monthly subscriptions, in which customers are sent boxes containing sample-sized beauty products, in addition to an e-commerce site where all the products are available for purchase. The brand tested pop-up locations in New York and the Hamptons before making the leap to a permanent residency.Continue reading...

brand commentary

But Wait, There's More: 5 Questions with AJ Khubani, CEO of TeleBrands

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2014 03:06 PM

The claim “As Seen On TV!” continues to reverberate with consumers as they clamor for new products advertised on TV infomercials such as the popular Pocket Hose and now, books. That’s why direct-response TV leader TeleBrands has grown to a $1 billion-a-year company.

TeleBrands, which is celebrating 30 years of business, has had to evolve quickly, pivoting toward much greater dependence on sales in special “As Seen On TV!” sections of brick-and-mortar retailers and essentially relying on TV as more of an advertising than sales vehicle. Surprisingly, digital sales aren’t that big a factor yet.

brandchannel chatted with "Infomercial King" AJ Khubani, founder and CEO of New Jersey-based TeleBrands, the industry’s leading pioneer, about how the industry has changed:Continue reading...

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